Economic Strengthening Interventions to Address Known Barriers to PMTCT and Improve Health Outcomes: What Do We Know and What Should We Do With This Evidence?

  • Date Posted: May 21, 2018
  • Authors: CGillum
  • Document Types: Primer or Brief
  • Donor Type: US Agency for International Development


In Swaziland, just before sunset, a young girl tests out a new seesaw on a playground.
Photo by Jon Hrusa, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

This brief provides an overview of the key findings from a literature review conducted by the Accelerating Strategies for Practical Innovation & Research in Economic Strengthening (ASPIRES) project, implemented by FHI 360 with funding from PEPFAR and USAID. The review considered evidence on economic barriers to PMTCT and examined the results from 16 studies and five program evaluations on the effects of economic strengthening (ES) interventions applied within PMTCT settings and other relevant services, such as antenatal care (ANC), antiretroviral therapy (ART), or HIV counseling and testing services. While all these services are available on a stand-alone basis, they are also integral elements of the PMTCT cascade, thus the outcomes of ES interventions offered within these services may be applicable to PMTCT at least to some degree. Identifying ES interventions that positively affect all or any of the steps of the PMTCT cascade can strengthen PMTCT programs, contributing to better health outcomes and further reduction in HIV transmission from mother to child. The majority of the studies (n=11) in the review examined whether food assistance might increase ART adherence and access to services, while six studies looked at cash transfers as a means to increase access to and retention in services, and four studies assessed the effects of transportation assistance on the use of health services.